Common Name(s): Mountain Mahogany
Scientific Name: Cercocarpus spp.
Distribution: Western United States and northern Mexico
Tree Size: 10-20 ft (3-6 m) tall, 1 ft (.3 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 69 lbs/ft3 (1,110 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .93, 1.11
Janka Hardness: 3,200 lbf (14,230 N)
Modulus of Rupture: No data available
Elastic Modulus: No data available
Crushing Strength: No data available
Shrinkage: Radial: 2.3%, Tangential: 4.4%, Volumetric: 6.8%, T/R Ratio: 1.9
Color/Appearance: Heartwood is reddish brown. Sapwood is pale yellow or pink, not always sharply demarcated form heartwood. Color of both sapwood and heartwood tends to darken with age.
Grain/Texture: Very fine, even texture; excellent natural luster.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous or semi-ring porous; solitary and radial multiples, sometimes exclusively solitary; small pores, sometimes arranged into loose/broken rows with differing sized pores, numerous to very numerous; mineral/gum deposits occasionally present; parenchyma not visible or absent; narrow rays, spacing normal.
Rot Resistance: No data available.
Workability: Tends to be difficult to work on account of it’s density and cutting resistance. Turns well.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with Mountain Mahogany. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Mountain Mahogany is in not rare, but is very seldom harvested for lumber. Its small size, mountainous location, and extreme density put this wood out of practical reach. Small turning blanks are occasionally seen for sale. Expect prices to be fairly high for a domestic hardwood.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: Firewood, turned objects, and other small specialty wood objects.
Comments: Not to be confused with true mahogany in the Swietenia genus, Mountain Mahogany is an unrelated species yielding extremely dense wood—among the very densest among trees native to the United States, (with the exception of Desert Ironwood).
Oftentimes just a shrub or small tree, this dense wood is usually found at higher elevations, and its harvesting is generally limited to determined hobbyists with sharp chainsaws.